Core Routine with Michael Jordan's Former Trainer

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MJ wasn't always MJ.

There was a time when he was just Mike, and critics doubted his superstar status. Michael wanted to validate his rep and prove his naysayers wrong. So he committed himself to an intense training plan that focused on working his core. Michael Jordan went from "just Mike" to "His Airness."

As evidenced by his 1985 Rookie of the Year award, Michael Jordan came into the league with amazing skill, unparalleled talent and immediate recognition. But as years two and three rolled by, critics began to voice concerns about his ability as a team player, and to wonder whether he was just a phenomenal scorer who couldn't D up. More questions ensued: Could Jordan take the Bulls beyond a .500 season? Would he ever get his team out of the first round? Would he ever win a championship?

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MJ wasn't always MJ.

There was a time when he was just Mike, and critics doubted his superstar status. Michael wanted to validate his rep and prove his naysayers wrong. So he committed himself to an intense training plan that focused on working his core. Michael Jordan went from "just Mike" to "His Airness."

As evidenced by his 1985 Rookie of the Year award, Michael Jordan came into the league with amazing skill, unparalleled talent and immediate recognition. But as years two and three rolled by, critics began to voice concerns about his ability as a team player, and to wonder whether he was just a phenomenal scorer who couldn't D up. More questions ensued: Could Jordan take the Bulls beyond a .500 season? Would he ever get his team out of the first round? Would he ever win a championship?

In his fourth year in the league, Jordan picked up the pace, earning his first Defensive Player of the Year award and leading the Bulls to a 50-win season and their first victory in a playoff series since he joined the team. But Jordan and Co. still weren't within sniffing distance of the NBA Finals, leaving room for critics to keep sniping at his game.

Then came the 1990-91 season, the first of six in which Michael would lead his team to the NBA Championship series—and win. This truly marked the beginning of the Michael Jordan Era and his transformation from star player to best on the planet.

One key to the transformation was MJ's athletic performance enhancement guru, Tim Grover. Known as the industry leader in boosting players' athletic abilities through proper training, Grover began training Jordan in 1989, and continued to do so for the remainder of his career. The training took Jordan beyond what any player, past or present, has ever accomplished. Critics went from "Can he do that?" to "How did he do that?"

A cornerstone of Grover's training is core development. A solid core will help any athlete jump higher, run faster, move quicker and reach his or her true athletic potential. Grover says, "If your core is strong, all of your muscles can produce more force and perform at a higher level."

Many athletes assume core training means strengthening their abs. However, a six-pack doesn't equal a strong core. "Many athletes do hundreds of crunches and neglect their oblique and erector muscles," Grover says. "Injury can occur if any part of the core is weak."

Strengthen your core with moves from Grover's training plan. Try these six, MJ-tested moves twice a week to hit all your vital core muscles. There's no guarantee you'll become the next MJ.

But who's to say you won't?

Anterior Reach On One Leg

  • Stand on one leg with slight flex in knee
  • Extend arms and lean forward so arms and body are parallel to ground
  • Extend non-standing leg straight back so it is in line with back, hips and arms

Reps: 10-15
Sets: 2-3
Times Per Week:
2

Squats On Unstable Object

  • Stand on unstable surface (balance board, Bosu, etc.) in athletic stance with toes pointing slightly out
  • Pick eye-level focus point on wall
  • Squat down with control and good posture until thighs are parallel to ground
  • Keep weight back on heels
  • Drive out of squat into starting position, keeping chest out

Reps: 10-15
Sets: 2-3
Times Per Week: 2

Walk-Outs On Hands

  • Begin in athletic stance
  • Bend at waist and touch hands to floor in front of feet. Keep legs straight
  • Walk hands away from feet, keeping legs straight, until body is fully extended
  • Walk hands back to feet

Reps: 10-15
Sets: 2-3
Times Per Week: 2

Push-Ups On Med/Physio Balls

  • Begin in push-up position with hands on physioball or med ball
  • With control, lower chest to ball, stopping one inch above ball
  • Extend arms to return to starting position

Reps: 10-15
Sets: 2-3
Times Per Week: 2

Medicine Ball Sit-ups

  • Lie on back with knees bent and feet flat on floor
  • Hold med ball above chest with both hands
  • Raise shoulders off ground and sit up with med ball
  • Return to starting position with control

Reps: 10-15
Sets: 2-3
Times Per Week: 2

6-inch Leg Raises

  • Lie on back with legs straight and toes pointing toward ceiling
  • Keep arms at sides and raise legs six inches off ground
  • Hold elevated position for two to three seconds; return to starting position

Reps: 10-15
Sets: 2-3
Times Per Week: 2

 


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: BASKETBALL TRAINING | CORE | CHEST | MED BALL | STANCE